Occupational Medicine: Health Monitoring for Tetrachloroethylene

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Our occupational medicine webpage is dedicated to the health monitoring for tetrachloroethylene under the WHS Regulations. Tetrachloroethylene, commonly known as “perc,” is a chemical used in various industrial processes, posing potential health risks to workers. Our comprehensive health monitoring program aims to safeguard the well-being of workers exposed to this compound.

Collection of Demographic, Medical, and Occupational History

  • Prior to commencing work involving tetrachloroethylene, we gather detailed demographic, medical, and occupational history from workers.
  • This information is crucial for assessing individual health risks and detecting any pre-existing conditions that may exacerbate the effects of tetrachloroethylene exposure.

Physical Examination

  • A thorough physical examination, conducted by a registered medical practitioner, places emphasis on assessing the central nervous, respiratory, reproductive systems, and skin.
  • This examination helps detect any anomalies that may indicate adverse health effects attributable to tetrachloroethylene exposure.

Tetrachloroethylene Blood Level Prior to Shift

  • Measuring tetrachloroethylene blood levels before the start of a work shift establishes a baseline and enables ongoing monitoring of exposure levels.
  • While there is no universally agreed-upon biological exposure standard for tetrachloroethylene in blood, international agencies have established guidelines for reference.

Health Monitoring Before Starting Work

Before workers begin tasks involving tetrachloroethylene, we conduct initial discussions about potential health effects, symptom recognition, and the frequency and nature of health monitoring tests. This proactive approach ensures early detection of any adverse health effects attributable to tetrachloroethylene exposure.

Monitoring Exposure During Work

  • Continuous monitoring of tetrachloroethylene exposure is essential.
  • Workers exposed or suspected of being exposed undergo health monitoring appointments arranged by the person conducting the business or undertaking (PCBU).
  • Various methods, including blood tests and exhaled air analysis, are utilized to assess exposure levels.

Removal from Work

  • If health assessments indicate symptoms of tetrachloroethylene exposure or elevated exposure levels, immediate removal from tetrachloroethylene-related work is recommended.
  • The registered medical practitioner provides recommendations to the PCBU for remedial actions to ensure worker safety.

Return to Work

Workers are only permitted to return to tetrachloroethylene-related work upon being assessed as medically fit by the registered medical practitioner. This assessment considers the worker’s clinical condition, symptom resolution, and implementation of remediation measures to mitigate exposure risks.

Final Medical Examination

  • Upon termination of work involving tetrachloroethylene, a final medical examination and blood specimen collection are conducted.
  • Workers experiencing health issues due to tetrachloroethylene exposure are advised to undergo continuing medical examinations.

Potential Health Effects

  • Exposure to tetrachloroethylene can result in a range of health effects, including CNS depression, respiratory tract irritation, skin and eye irritation, liver and kidney abnormalities, and reproductive system disturbances.

GHS Classification

  • Tetrachloroethylene has been classified as a Category 2 carcinogen according to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), as it is suspected of causing cancer in humans.

Target organs and potential effects of tetrachloroethylene exposure

Target Organ


Central Nervous System

·         CNS depression, fatigue, dizziness, headache, light-headedness

·         Sedation

·         Coma

·         Death


·         Hepatic damage with jaundice


·         Severe irritation

·         Dry skin

·         Redness

·         Burning sensation


·         Glomerular or tubular dysfunction

Respiratory Tract

·         Irritation


·         Irritation

·         Burning sensation

Contact Us for Assistance​

At our occupational medicine facility, we prioritize the health and safety of workers exposed to tetrachloroethylene. Our comprehensive health monitoring program ensures compliance with WHS Regulations and promotes a safe working environment. Contact us for more information on our services.